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Snoring is a well-known symptom, which occurs due to vibrations in tissues located in the neck or head. It disturbs air flow during breathing and may further reduce either quality or quantity of sleep. Although snoring is prevalent in all sexes and ages, this type of sleep disorder appears more frequently in males and individuals who are elderly or obese. It can also appear as a consequence of underlying disorder, such as allergy, which obstructs nasal passageways. This type of disorder is considered as non-threatening, however if left untreated, it will get worsen after time. Dangerous consequences of stand-alone snoring include sleep apnea or sleep deprivation.
Snoring appears due to relaxation of certain tissues located in the neck or head, such as soft palate, uvula or tongue. Afterwards, it leads to narrowing the airways and increased air flow pressure, which eventually cause vibrations of those soft tissues. In addition, it can also appear due certain disorders which are obstructing the air passages.
The most common causes of snoring include:
- Allergy, common cold or other disorders that lead to obstructed nasal passageways.
- Using substances that relax muscle tissue. For instance alcohol, sedatives or certain medications.
- Lying on the back during sleeping
- Enlarged tonsils, uvula or soft palate.
Snoring might be successfully treated in home with the help of few simple methods. In many cases, this sleep disorder is caused by obesity, that is why losing weight should be the primary goal. Apart from this, limiting or quitting smoking, regular physical exercises and trying to not sleep on the back might also be beneficial. There are also certain devices, like nasal strips, specially designed pillows or dental appliances, which may be effective in terms of mitigating the snoring.
Treatment major task is to eliminate the cause standing behind narrowing air passageways, which will further prevent from snoring. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to make some lifestyle adjustments before using professional healthcare methods. When the home remedies are not successful, a healthcare providers may perform surgery of the soft tissues, in order to make them thicker or to reduce their size. However, this method is used only as a last resort, because of possible side effects and complexity of the surgery.
When to see a doctor
The snoring is an ailment which is frequently underestimated. It needs to be remembered, that this particular sleep disorder may indicate some serious diseases or lead to various complications. Some studies shows, that snoring greatly increases the possibility of developing stroke or heart attack. What is more, it frequently affects not one person, but also a roommate, partner or family members.
The most common complications of snoring include:
- Sleep apnea, which eventually might lead to cardiovascular disorders.
- Sleep deprivation, characterized by daytime sleepiness, irritability, decreased libido and fatigue.
Specialist’s evaluation is strongly recommended if one or more of those features appear:
- Morning headaches
- Vision disorders
- Pauses in breathing cycle during sleeping observed by others
- Sleep paralysis (inability to move and speak during falling or awakening from sleep, often accompanied by hallucinations)
- Intense daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration.